My winner is Krysta. Thanks so much to everyone who participated!
Cats and Halloween. They go together like caramel and apples, but cats, especially black ones, have gotten a bad reputation. Having a black cat cross your path is thought to bring bad luck and some folks associate these pretty dark felines with evil, demons and death. A black cat on a ship, however, is considered good luck. For the sailors, I guess, and maybe for the cat if there are plenty of critters to chase.
Felines are often thought of as sneaky, aloof, and sinister. My calico cat, shown below plopped all over my Halloween wreath, is more cuddly than spooky but I've know some scary cats. There are the kind that leap out at you from behind furniture, ones that skulk around corners waiting to tangle up in unsuspecting feet and ones that perch on your chest while you sleep. Have you ever woke up to find a cat staring you right in the face?
Join us in this fun hop October 27 to 31. My prize is an eBook copy of your choice from my backlist. To enter, just leave me a comment and tell me something you love about your pet. I'll use Random.org to pick a winner. Then enter the Rafflecopter below and hop on over to the next author and find more treats to enjoy.
PS I'll be out of town with very little Internet access for a few days *shudders from withdrawal already* so I'll be awarding my prize a little later. Enjoy the PG13 excerpt below for my upcoming book, Don't Say No, and thank you so much for participating in this hop!
“I've written out a script for you to use at the spa.”
Jaeger pushed a piece of paper across the table to Amber.
She picked it up and raised an eyebrow. “A script? You think I can memorize this in half an hour? Anyway, I don't need a script.“
Amber pushed it back toward him.
Jaeger frowned. “You need to make sure they think you're just visiting. You can't let on that you're evaluating them.”
“Okay, duh, I've got it. I know what to do. I have been to a spa once or twice in my life. I know how to act like a guest.”
She dug into her food. They sat at Pancake Palace again, and this time Amber had ordered waffles. The small order. She didn't want to be overly full while getting her treatments. Jaeger had insisted on meeting before she went to the spa to brief her. Brief her. That's what he'd said. Like this was some kind of tactical mission.
“Here then, look at the evaluation form you'll be completing on each employee.”
Amber took the paper and studied it while Jaeger scanned her completed employment application.
“You took two years off between high school and college? What did you do during that time?”
Was he allowed to ask that? Was it any of his business?
“I traveled around with my boyfriend. We wanted to visit a bunch of different states.”
Plenty of people did that. Some even went to Europe and other foreign places.
She sighed inwardly at the memory. Team Amber/Randy had had a good time those two years, no regrets. It had been a great experience, staying with friends and in hostels, meeting new people, working a few temp jobs to make money, and not having a set agenda. She'd learned a lot during those days.
The question was asked innocently enough, but Amber stiffened. Well, this was bound to come up, if not now, then later. Jaeger could probably find out about the sordid Event anyway, and it wasn't the worst thing in the world. She hadn't committed a felony or hurt anyone. Plenty of people got kicked out college.
“I went to Camton University for two weeks, then was asked to leave.”
He looked up from the paper. “You were asked to leave?”
“Do I stutter? It's a long story. I don't feel like getting into it. What, I can't be your mystery shopper without a college education?”
“I didn't say that.”
He went back to reading her application. “What were you studying?”
He looked up again. She knew he wanted to hear more, wanted to know something about her. What could she tell him that would inspire trust? He'd already hired her, sort of. He could dismiss her just as easily though. She was going to have this conversation with other employers, she realized. Might as well work on her spiel now.
Picking at the paper placemat, she forced herself to look him in the eye and answer. “Business management. My boyfriend, Randy, and I were going to open our own business.”
“And you're not now?”
“Was your boyfriend the man you were pelting with baked goods at Taylor's Café?”
Jaeger's mouth turned up slightly at the corner. “I take it the relationship ended badly.”
“What makes you say that?”
He laughed. “What kind of business?”
She stopped fussing with the placemat and sat up straighter. “We were going to call it Fun on the Beach. We would rent out toys to people who were vacationing at hotels. You know, Frisbees, kites, stuff like that. Cheap toys, so if they got broke, no big deal. Parents don't have enough toys, the kids get bored. Or the adults want something to do besides sit around, so they fly a kite. It was a great idea.”
Her shoulders slumped. Yeah, was.
“You're kind of young to be running a business,” she added.
It was time to get the focus of this conversation off her and her failures.
“I'm not running a business. It's my family's company. I've been assigned this project. And I'm not that young. I'm only several years older than you, I believe.”
She crossed her arms. It was illegal to ask her age, she knew that, but he could figure it out from her application. Okay, enough of this. She needed to get in a spa frame of mind, not pick a fight with her employer.
“Tell me more about Bella Sun. What's going on there that you need to know about?” she asked and bent back to her food.
“Actually, I think it would be better if you don't know. I want you to go in with fresh eyes, to observe.”
“Oh, come on, give me a hint. Is there a specific problem I should look for?”
He took a sip of his tea. The server had looked at him like he was nuts when he'd requested Earl Grey. She'd asked who that was. Jaeger was not trying to be snobby, Amber suspected, but he was obviously used to a slightly different lifestyle from the one they had in Palm Groves. He'd settled for a decaf tea bag, which Amber guessed was dug out of a dusty box buried on a shelf.
“We just want to identify employees who are not happy or causing trouble.”
“If I give them a bad report, will they get fired?”
“No, we can't do that. We'll talk to them first and see if we can resolve any issues. If that doesn't work, we'll cut their hours enough so they leave voluntarily. Your input will have some effect, yes. You understand that, right? Are you still up to the job?” he asked.
She snapped him a salute. “I do, and I am.”
He could feel her heat and almost taste her wet juice in his mouth. Saliva formed and a powerful rush of energy roared through his body. Don’t, don’t, don’t! His mind told him to push her away and run like hell, while every cell in his body longed to take her.
Just a little, I can have just a little, I can control it.
Calling up every ounce of strength he possessed, he pushed the animal back and wrapped his arms around her, buying his nose in her hair. That smell!
Time once again for a little seven sexiness this Saturday. I hope you enjoyed these sentences from Ruled by the Moon, coming in November. Click on another authors's link below for more Sexy Saturday fun and have a happy, sexy weekend!
Ever have those days you feel like you're playing a game of Whack a Mole? You get one thing done and bam! Up pops another one. You whack that one down and poof! Another damn mole. Unlike the game, however, in real life, the stuff popping up doesn't end when you run out of quarters.
I have many things going on at once. Most of them good, some not so much. A vacation, two books coming out, last-minute clients at the day job, getting a news release out for an animal group I work with are all good. Dealing with a computer issue, scheduling time to have car maintenance done, juggling money to pay for that, not so great. Good and bad, every situation needs my time and attention and lately I've been overwhelmed. I can tell when I'm getting to the edge because I stop breathing properly and I just want to pull the covers over my head and sleep.
Fortunately, I've found a few ways to cope when life when it gets to this crazy stage. Here are my strategies.
1. I can't do everything. Really, I can't. I've tried, believe me, but it's not humanly possible to complete all the things I want to do in one day. The easy solution to that problem is, lower my expectations. If I schedule a little less on my To Do list, I won't feel like a failure at the end of the day. I pick the most urgent projects and start with them. Anything above and beyond is a bonus.
2. I'm not perfect. I'm going to screw up. And you know what? Every time I do, the world doesn't come crashing to an end.
3. Jobs get done much faster and more efficiently when I focus on one chore at a time. If I give it my undivided attention, chances are, I won't mess up and won't have to go back for a redo. One of my favorite sayings is: "If you don't have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?"
4. I make sure to give myself credit and be grateful for what I have accomplished and am still doing. I'd always like to do more, but I deserve a pat on the back *pat,pat* for what I've achieved.
Thanks to Terren at Flickr for this great picture. http://bit.ly/1FrSAdB
Like many authors, I have a Like and a Friend page at Facebook. (I know they have different actual names but for this post, that's what I'm going to call them.) Since authors are really our own business, it's hard to distinguish one from the other, especially if, like me, you use a pen name. Naomi Bellina is me, the author, and also the business. So, which one should I use more often? My Like or Friend page?
Let me start by saying I don't read a whole lot about Facebook operations. Who has time? When something affects me, then I do my research. I learned a sad fact recently when I went to participate in an FB party and realized, I couldn't invite anyone from my Like page, only my Friends. I initially put a lot of effort into getting Likes, as that was the way I was told to go. Turns out now I have to pay for getting my posts boosted on the Like section otherwise they fall into some black hole and only get seen by two people. But I know, nothing is free and I kind of expected Facebook to start charging money at some point. Why wouldn't they?
Facebook has now come up with a new policy about giveaways. They say "You must not incentivize people to use social plugins or to like a Page. This includes offering rewards, or gating apps or app content based on whether or not a person has liked a Page." (Incentivize? That's a new word on me!) Read more about this on Rafflecopter (who I love!) here, and for some really scary reading about this new policy, check out the comments here.
There are many aspects of Facebook I like. I totally enjoy seeing what my friends are up to and reading and sharing funny stuff with them. Since I've been a little more disciplined with the amount of time I spend on FB, it doesn't suck my day away. Too much. My plan for the future is to use more of the Friend page, to continue to use FB lightly and to not depend on it for all my social media needs. Who knows what they will come up with next and as one commenter said, it's not a good idea to rely on something you don't have control over.
This short story was the first I wrote about a form of sexual desire in which I have no interest whatsoever. Okay, I like a pair of pretty shoes as much as the next girl, but I’m not sexually aroused by feet or footwear. The first time a man sucked my toes was after a hot and sweaty bike ride, and candidly, I thought the experience a little disgusting. Not for me—I wasn’t doing the sucking—but for the guy. Nevertheless, he seemed to really enjoy it, despite the unsanitary nature of the activity. (He was a doctor, too, which made what he did even more puzzling).
But each to his own, I say, and if someone indulges a fetish and doesn’t hurt anyone else (except with consent, of course) who am I to judge?
I wrote Kinky Toes during a time when I was exploring ways to keep the writing fresh by focusing on fetishes I hadn’t previously written about. Queen’s Quest (http://www.ellorascave.com/queen-s-quest.html) is another story from that period, and it posits a society in which exhibitionism is rampant and public sex perfectly acceptable—the conformation of the futuristic planet I invented is such that birthrates are low, and anything to get new births is encouraged.
I’m neither an exhibitionist nor a foot fetishist, so both stories were a departure for me. I didn’t know anything about foot or shoe fetishes, so I had to research both subjects. Kinky Toes is the result.
Here’s what it’s about:
Genre: contemporary erotic romance
Shelbie Nathanson resents Rick Saldano's ascension to C.O.O. of her family's shoe company, a job she's wanted all her life. But she can't resist his red-hot, sexy style of lovemaking... one that focuses on her passion: shoes.
Here’s a snippet to sharpen your interest:
In the cab, Shelbie became even more aware of Rick, if that were possible. He was big. Not fat, but solid, sizable, with broad shoulders and an obviously muscular body beneath his suit. She couldn’t help sneaking a peek at his crotch. The suit’s fabric had pulled tight as he sat, tight enough that she could guess that six-foot-two Rick’s body parts were proportional.
Her mood had definitely changed.
He leaned closer, hesitated the tiniest fraction of a second before he brushed his lips against her cheek. Shocked, she jerked away, but he didn’t move, his gaze still pinned to hers.
She didn’t move either. The air felt thick, as though the very atmosphere were holding her in place. They sat staring at each other until the cabbie harrumphed. “Where to, folks?”
After giving the cabbie an address she didn’t recognize, Rick didn’t say anything during the cab ride. Rigid with a tension she couldn’t define, Shelbie didn’t have a word to say either, not even when he picked up one of her feet and rested it in his lap, atop his very substantial hard-on. She wiggled her foot and the stiletto heel slid across the bulge in his pants.
He sighed, so she did it again. Then again. He clamped his lips tight shut, apparently stifling a groan as his erection swelled even more.
He slid one finger along the exposed arch of her foot. It didn’t feel ticklish, exactly, but was tingly, the kind of tingle her pussy liked.
He inserted his finger into her toe cleavage. The spot between the big toe and the next was tiny, smaller than his index finger. His abrupt thrust hurt a little, and Shelbie had a mad vision of the time when she’d lost her virginity. Her pussy had been too small for the tool her then-boyfriend had wielded.
She had that same feeling now, an ache as something big intruded into her body’s smaller space. She tried to pull away but he persisted, twisting his finger until he’d pushed in as far as her shoe would allow.
He sawed his finger in and out and she bit down on her lower lip to avoid moaning aloud. She flung her head back, panting as he rotated his finger.
They arrived outside a row of brownstones near the park. He slipped his finger out of her toe cleavage and gave her foot a squeeze. An awkwardness she hadn’t felt since teenage sex overcame her as she dropped her feet to the cab’s floor. Rick paid the fare, ushered her out of the taxi and into the building…his building, she supposed.
The moment they were alone in the elevator, she sprang at him and pressed her lips against his. He wrapped his arms around her and held her tight as his tongue invaded her mouth. She sucked at him hard, shoving her hands into his hair. He tasted and felt divine.
Her body was aflame, all light and heat, and he picked her up as though she were made of insubstantial fire, weighing nothing...
Like what you read? There’s more! Buy the short story at:
Best-selling, award-winning author Suz deMello, a.k.a Sue Swift, has written seventeen romance novels in several subgenres, including erotica, comedy, historical, paranormal, mystery and suspense, plus a number of short stories and non-fiction articles on writing. A freelance editor, she’s held the positions of managing editor and senior editor, working for such firms as Totally Bound, Liquid Silver Books and Ai Press. She also takes private clients. Her books have been favorably reviewed in Publishers Weekly, Kirkus and Booklist, won a contest or two, attained the finals of the RITA and hit several bestseller lists. A former trial attorney, her passion is world travel. She’s left the US over a dozen times, including lengthy stints working overseas. She’s now writing a vampire tale and planning her next trip.
Find Suzie’s books here: http://www.tinyurl.com/SuzDeMello (publisher’s site)
Lord have mercy. What was he doing, licking that delicious woman like she was frosting on a birthday cake? The taste of her still lingered on his tongue as he shut off the lights and locked the spa doors. Whatever else needed his attention here could wait. He couldn't concentrate anymore tonight if his life depended on it.
What was it about Amber that lit him up so much? She was attractive, anyone could see that, but there was some special spark in her, something that blazed hot and sweet and called to him.
Time once again for a little seven sexiness this Saturday. I hope you enjoyed these sentences from my upcoming book Don't Say No, available next month. Click on another authors's link below for more Sexy Saturday fun and have a happy, sexy weekend!
Are you getting in the mood for Halloween? Here's a deliciously spooky read from Ashley Ladd to help you along.
Someone’s trying to kill Deanna, but is it the ghosts she doesn’t believe in, the rich socialite who might be a murderess, or someone else with a beef against The Gilroy Hotel and Resort that Deanna has just been hired to manage? The Gilroy’s owners want the ghosts, or whoever is causing the trouble at the hotel eliminated, and they are pressuring Deanna to do the job as quickly as possible. Harry DeVeaux, paranormal investigator comes highly recommended to do the job and against Deanna’s better judgment, she hires him.
Although Deanna thinks Harry’s crazy for believing in ghosts and Harry thinks Deanna has a closed mind to the possibilities of ghosts and they highly annoy each other, sparks fly. Deanna can’t help but fantasize about Harry and inspired by a romance convention visiting her hotel, writes her fantasies in a private blog that Harry finds, hacks, and reads. Ooh la la!
“I think we should run and hide. Fast!”
She tried to look around to see if there was a law enforcement agent nearby, but he tugged her hard and pulled her behind him. “Why, is there a cop?”
“If there isn’t, I’m sure there will be soon.”
“Where do we run to?” Unfortunately, there was only white sand, water and people as far as she could see. No hideouts.
He looked around with wild eyes and changed direction. “Damn! Policeman at three o’clock. We’ll swim in the ocean until we get down shore a ways.”
She glanced around and saw the officer swiftly approaching with a deep frown etched on his face. Damn. “What about your car keys? Are they waterproof?”
“If we can get out of eyesight for a moment, we’ll ditch our stuff, swim down shore, then come back when the coast is clear. I doubt our crime’s big enough they’ll chase us very long.”
Crime? They were criminals? Her jaw dropped. She’d been so horny that hadn’t occurred to her. Not on a nude beach.
She told herself to get over it and live on the edge. A little danger, a little fun, was good once in a while.
Tinkling laughter escaped her lips and she picked up her step, kicking sand behind her. “Is he still chasing us?”
Harry looked back and shook his head. “No. But I still think we should disappear for a while before making our way to my Jeep. Do you like to swim?”
“A lot.” She’d been eyeing the hotel pools for weeks but hadn’t had time to enjoy them.
“Well, today’s your day. You get to frolick in the ocean.” He dropped the bags, rummaged through and pulled out their suits. “Hurry and put this on. Take off the hat and glasses. We want to look as different as possible.”
He took the hat and glasses with them and ditched them in the first garbage can they passed. He swept her off her feet, carried her into the ocean and, with a wicked grin, tossed her into a large incoming wave.
Title: Spooky Sojourn
Publisher: Totally Bound
Genre: Contemporary Erotic male-female contemporary paranormal romance
Book Length: 50,000 words
One lucky blog tour visitor for Spooky Sojourn will win a $10 Amazon gift certificate. Be sure to enter your email address so Ashley can contact you if you’re the winner. The contest will run until midnight November 1st.
Ashley Ladd lives in South Florida with her husband, five children, and beloved pets. She loves the water, animals (especially cats), and playing on the computer.
She's been told she has a wicked sense of humor and often incorporates humor and adventure into her books. She also adores very spicy romance, which she weaves into her stories.
How you can contact Ashley:
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